Every January, the Christmas decorations are put away… and the gardening books immediately come out. I plan. I sketch. I dream about a day when my lawn will be lush and green, instead of buried under snow!
My good friend Amanda has a proverbial green thumb. Maybe it’s because she was born in England and has inherited “the gardener’s gene,” but her flower beds are traffic-stopping every single year. And, although her garden varies with each season, you will always find an abundance of roses. Climbing over a trellis, spilling across the fence, or twining around railings, she has a stunning assortment. And, they are simply everywhere!
Personally, I have had mixed success (as well as some abysmal failures) with roses. A lovely yellow “fairy rose” bush that I received as a gift over a dozen years ago has managed to soldier on. And, an old-fashioned blood-red bush that I rescued from a neighbor appears indestructible (it had been repeatedly run over with a lawnmower, as he was trying to kill it). But, the list of those who didn’t make it is long…
Why David Austin Roses?
So, what’s the secret for a spectacular rose display? Selection. As simple as it sounds, it appears I’ve been choosing my roses all wrong. For example, “New Dawn” is perfect for beginners (pale pink, splashy, and a climber). And, as my plucky yellow rose bush can attest, fairy roses are notoriously easy.
Armed with this information, I am excited to try anew this Spring and have found the perfect source – David Austin Roses. After fifty years of intensive breeding, these roses combine the forms and fragrances of old roses with the repeat-flowering of modern roses.
The website is helpfully divided into categories such as Best for Flowering, Best for Fragrance and more. Choosing just the right rose is made simpler, too, by the breathtaking photos. If my garden looks only half as good, I will consider myself a rose expert!
Easy to Grow Roses
Since my track record isn’t the best, I’ve showcased a few of my favorites from the Best for Health section. According to the site, “The easiest way to grow a rose well is to choose a strong, disease resistant variety and here we have listed the most disease resistant roses in our collection. All of these varieties are healthy and reliable, so have the best chance of thriving for years in your garden.”
For example, “The Silas Mariner” (named after the kindhearted hero of George Eliot’s classic novel) has such dense petals, it almost resembles a peony. This medium sized rose is a soft mid pink, which will marry well with the other flowers in my garden. The slightly ruffled petals are pale on the reverse and fade at the edges creating an ethereal quality. There is a medium-strong Old Rose fragrance with hints of lemon, green banana and apricot. The Silas Mariner rose has a healthy medium-sized shrub with glossy dark green foliage and wide, arching growth.
Another top pick for a climbing rose is “The Claire Austin.” This is a vigorous, upright rose, making it a very good climber. The pale lemon buds gradually open to lovely, large, creamy white flowers. This rose has a strong myrrh fragrance with accents of meadowsweet, vanilla and heliotrope. The growth is strong and especially healthy, with an attractive matte green foliage. Perfect for a garden gate, stone wall, or pergola.
Finally, “The Lark Ascending” rose (named after the much-loved piece of music by Ralph Vaughan Williams) offers graceful semi-double flowers in an unusual shade of apricot. This is an extremely healthy shrub rose with tall, airy growth and serious wow factor!
If you love gardening, or just need a little inspiration this winter, visit the David Austin Roses gardening website. And just think, spring is only 73 days away!
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Named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.com, Susan Said… WHAT?! is your guide to a life filled with style. From must-have fashion, handbags, jewelry and accessories, to gorgeous gardens and gardening tips, stunning interior design, plus the latest products and ideas for chic parties, weddings and events of all kinds, you’ll find it here. Editor Susan Conforte McNeill is an author and entrepreneur, as well as the co-founder of the Delaware based literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!